On Monday, Jan. 11, Disney announced some major news for guests that will definitely have an impact on Walt Disney World vacation planning, specifically when it comes to airport transportation and park visits.
First, Disney’s Magical Express is coming to end. You read that right. The complimentary shuttle service that transports Disney Resort hotel guests to and from the Orlando International Airport will no longer offer service beginning with arrivals Jan. 1, 2022.
That said, Disney will continue to offer Magical Express for new and existing reservations made at Disney Resort hotels for arrivals throughout 2021.
With this change in 2022, guests will have to rent a car, use a ride-share option, or maybe even take the new Brightline station that’s coming to Disney Springs in the future. Be sure to check out our Orlando airport and WDW transportation guide for more information.
The second big piece of news is that Extra Magic Hours are done. Ever since WDW reopened in July 2020 amid the ongoing pandemic, Extra Magic Hours haven’t been offered for health and safety reasons.
Well, Disney is getting rid of them completely and will soon offer “Early Theme Park Entry.” This offering will be part of the 50th-anniversary celebration. Magic Kingdom, the first theme park to open at WDW, turns 50 on Oct. 1, 2021.
Disney Resort hotel guests and guests of other select hotels will be granted 30-minute early entry to any theme park, every day of the week.
Compared to the former Extra Magic Hours, where certain guests could access only one theme park early, now every theme park will open early to select guests — and for only a short amount of time.
In the words of Disney, “The new early theme park entry benefit helps us better spread visitation across all four theme parks while providing added flexibility by giving guests extra early park time on each day of their vacation and in the park of their choosing.”
Keep in mind that valid theme park admission and a park reservation via the Disney Park Pass System are still required.
These two big pieces of news are a lot to digest and will be an adjustment, especially for frequent WDW visitors. A lot has changed recently at the most magical place on earth, so if you need help planning Small World Vacations can help.